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Working From Home: 10 Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Is working from home good?

Being able to work from home can be one of the best things ever, but it does not come without challenges. Being disciplined, sticking to a work schedule and setting healthy boundaries between your work and personal life can be a huge challenge. 

If you can get those 3 things right, then working from home can be one of the most liberating benefits you’ll ever experience. No need to sit in traffic, spend hours commuting to and from the office and if your work is flexible and you’re disciplined, then you can schedule your work in such a way to blend work and personal responsibilities in a way that will maximise your freedom and enjoyment. 

If however you struggle with those 3 factors, then working from home, might end up being more of a curse than a blessing. 

How can I make money & what jobs are best for working from home?

If you have a job that you can work on remotely online, then you will most likely be able to work from home. You could either find a remote job or you could work remotely as a freelancer or consultant. You could also create an online business that you operate remotely. Wherever you are in the world you should be able to continue getting your work done.

Some common jobs and work that can be completed online includes software development, website development, graphic design, customer support, social media management, project management, paid media management, search engine optimization, copywriting and video editing to name a few. 

There are also various admin related jobs that can be conducted remotely online including book keeping, accounting, data entry and account management. With the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies are letting their staff work remotely. 

If you are looking at starting your own online business, then you might also be interested in reading my post titled “10 Proven Online Business Models with Real World Examples”.

What equipment do I need to work from home?

This really depends on the work you’ll be doing, but assuming you’ll be working in a position that you’ll be fulfilling online using a computer, I’d recommend the following:

1. A reliable desktop or laptop computer that has enough processing power, memory and storage for you to complete your work. If you’re a video editor for example, then you’ll need a more powerful computer compared to if you’ll be doing admin, writing, emailing or content management. 

2. A reliable, fast and always on internet connection — depending on your specific tasks you will either need a very fast and always on connection or you might be able to get away with only accessing the internet to upload or submit your work. If you’ll be editing, downloading, uploading and consuming a lot of media files like videos and audio, as well as doing video calls, then you’ll definitely want an always on fibre or LTE connection with unlimited data. 

How can I help my employees work from home?

After having worked in a position as the director of operations at a digital products business for the past 18 months, I’ve learned a few things about working with a remote team. This advice applies to working both with employees and contractors.

My advice would be to make sure your team members have the right hardware and software. If they are employees then you might need to provide this to them and if they are contractors, then they would probably need to acquire and pay for their own setup. You can however assist them in whatever way you can. 

Their hardware should be powerful enough to let then complete their tasks and power the required software. For software it’s important each team member can access a master account or even better have their own team member account. 

Besides hardware and software, I’d recommend defining and documenting standard operating procedures for communication, collaboration and project management. How will team members communicate? Who will be in charge of scheduling and conducting meetings? What tools will the team be using to communicate and collaborate are a few questions to answer and document.

If you are working remotely alone or with a team, you might be interested in also reading my post titled “12 Best Digital Tools, Apps & Platforms for Working Remotely”.

How can I work remotely from home?

If you currently don’t have any work (job or contract), then I’d recommend looking for remote work online. There are various platforms that you can use to find full time jobs (like on https://weworkremotely.com/) or project based contracts (like on https://www.upwork.com/). There are many more options out there, so make sure to do some research.

If you have an existing job or contract that you’re fulfilling in an office environment, then you can negotiate to transition from in-office to remote. Depending on your situation this might be a welcome change or you might face some resistance. If you face resistance, then you can always suggest a trial period to see how it goes and if it goes well, then the trial can be extended into a more permanent arrangement.

What are the disadvantages and challenges of working from home?

There are definitely disadvantages and challenges when it comes to working from home. One of the biggest challenges is remaining disciplined, staying productive and creating healthy boundaries between your work and personal life. 

Also working from home can be very isolating. Without noticing it, it’s easy to spend a vast majority of your time at home, as there is no reason or need to go to work. Also working in isolation at home, can cause loneliness and a feeling of disconnect, as you don’t have an office to go to where you can interact and socialise with work colleagues. 

It is therefore important to remain disciplined, productive and have a structured routine that you stick to. It’s also recommended to regularly get out of the house, even if it means working from some other location whether that’s a out of home office, a co-working space or a cafe.

Is working from home bad for your career?

It all depends what you are working on and how effectively you are using your time. If in your head you are “working from home” but in actual fact you are wasting your time watching Netflix, sleeping late and playing Playstation, then yes, that would not be a good use of your time and in the long run would not help your career.

If however you are building a business, marketing your business, growing your client base and increasing your skills, experience and income in an area that you specialise in, then working from home could be a great way for you to focus on and create what you desire in life, work and business.

What are the advantages of working from home?

I’ve worked from home my entire life and have become aware of the advantages and disadvantages. For me the advantages are that there is less distraction at home and I can focus on my work. I can control the environment within my home, so I can create an environment in which I can thrive. 

If I have the flexibility with the projects I’m working on (which I’ve always had), then I can manage my own schedule and work around my energy levels and mindset. 

If I feel sick, then I can take it easy and rest. If I’m feeling great, then I can get up very early and start working before the sun comes up. Or if I need to, I can work late into the night to complete a project to then perhaps take the next day off. If I’m feeling tired throughout the day, I can take a 30min power nap. And if I’m feeling stuck in my head, I can take a walk or go for a scooter ride to clear my head. 

If you have flexible work and you are disciplined enough to be productive, then you can enjoy amazing freedom by working from home. I’ve also taken that freedom onto the road and have worked from wherever I’ve relocated to in the world, including Cape Town, Chiang Mai, California, Hanoi, Bali & Berlin.

Is it better to work from home or in an office?

This really depends on you as an individual, what work you do and what your home environment is like. If you share a home with multiple other people and you don’t have a private room to use as your home office, then there will most likely be a lot of distractions at home that you need to try avoid in order to get your work done. 

If you live alone or in a large enough home where you have a “home office”, then it will be much easier to focus and remain disciplined and productive. 

Is working from home less productive?

Working from home can be a lot less productive if you don’t create an ideal work environment for yourself and if you struggle with being disciplined and focused. Depending on whether you live alone or with others, there will be different levels of distractions that you’ll need to avoid to remain productive.

If possible I’d strongly recommend using a spare room as a home office where you can close the door and separate your work from your personal life within your home. 

If you do not have a spare room to use as a home office, then it’s important to find a partially secluded corner or area in a room to allocate as your work space. It’s also useful to setup some rules that everyone in your home should respect to minimise distractions and interruptions. 

In Conclusion

Working from home is definitely not a solution that works for everyone. Some jobs and work is not well suited for being done at home. Some homes are full of family members and other distractions that are impossible to avoid. Some people struggle to remain disciplined and productive while trying to work from home because their fridge, TV and bed are just a few metres away and can remain a constant temptation and distraction. 

If you can work remotely from home and you can remain disciplined and productive, then working from home can provide some life changing advantages, assuming that you can stick to a well structured routine and keep your personal and work life separate. 

If you’re currently working remotely or from home, make sure to also check out my post titled “12 Best Digital Tools, Apps & Platforms for Working Remotely”.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below. I'll do my best to get back to you.

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My Daily Writing Workflow: 5 Apps That Make Writing Simple & Effective

Whether you’re working on a new blog post, sales page, email sequence, online course or video series, the creative process generally starts with writing down your ideas and turning those ideas into a rough draft. You then take your draft and refine it down into a final version.

In this post I’d like to list and explain the 5 apps that I use in my writing workflow that has helped me develop a daily writing habit. My desired outcome for implementing this new habit is to publish a new blog post and a new YouTube video every week, that provides value to those looking for inspiration and advice on how to create a simple and repeatable process for creating valuable content. 

Before I get trapped in a “meta-vortex” as I write a blog post about writing, let me get on with explaining my workflow. 

1. Notes for iPhone & Mac

First on my list is an app that comes natively installed on all iPhones and syncs across your Apple devices using your free iCloud account, assuming you’re an Apple user. If you don’t use an iPhone, then I’m sure your phone has a similar note taking or writing app that you can use instead.

For me my Notes app on my iPhone is the perfect app for easily and quickly capturing ideas and writing when I’m not at my desk in front of my MacBook. I might be in bed, on the balcony or in the car somewhere, if an idea worth capturing comes to mind then I use notes to capture my thoughts.

Whatever I write in my Notes app then automatically syncs across to my notes app on my MacBook. So when I get to my desk it’s easy to continue from where I left off and it’s simple to copy my ideas from the Notes app on my MacBook to a document in Dropbox Paper, which leads me to the next app in my workflow.

2. Paper from Dropbox

Over the years I’ve used many different word processing apps including Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, Day One and Textwrangler to mention a few. 

In 2015, Dropbox launched a new major feature called Paper. Similar to Google Docs, Paper is a cloud based word processing app. The only difference is that paper is a simple, beautiful and minimalist writing app that is built right into your Dropbox account.  

After trying it for a while, then switching back to other options, I recently decided to go all in on Dropbox Paper as my main cloud based writing app. I still use Google Docs and Pages when needed, but for all my personal and professional writing, I rely solely on Dropbox Paper.

The simple user experience and the minimal formatting options keep distractions to a minimum and let me focus on my writing. I recently started a 500 words per day writing challenge and writing in Paper has helped me create this new daily writing habit.

Paper also offers mobile apps for iOS & Android. The mobile app is worth downloading if you want the option of viewing and editing your Paper Docs from your mobile device. On occasion I use the Paper app on my iPhone, which generally works really well.

After creating a new Paper Doc, I immediately copy the link and paste it into my content production plan in Airtable, which leads me to the next app in my writing workflow.

3. Airtable for Tracking Progress

Airtable is a cloud-based relational database app that looks and feels similar to a spreadsheet with super powers. You could of course simply use a spreadsheet to track your content creation progress, but I personally love using Airtable.

With Airtable I can customise the table (in Airtable it’s called a base) to include fields/columns for Title, Content Type, Status, Paper Doc URL, Word Count, Featured Image Attachment, Scheduled Publishing Date, Published URL, etc.

And then I can group my records by ‘Status’ and sort them by ‘Scheduled Publishing Date’. As I work on articles, I can easily update the status from ‘Idea’ to ‘Draft in Paper’ to ‘Ready to Edit’ to ‘Published’.

I can also create a seperate view in Airtable that shows me my content calendar grouped my ‘Month’ and sorted by ‘Scheduled Publishing Date’, so I can see which items have been published and which items I need to work on next to meet my deadlines.

Besides tracking my content creation process in Airtable, I also track the amount of words I write every day in a shared Google Sheet which takes me to my next app in my workflow.

4. Google Sheet for Tracking KPIs

Together with my accountability and mastermind partner, I use a shared Google Sheet to track our daily key performance indicators (KPIs), of which one for me is capturing the amount of words I’ve written every day - with my goal being 500 words per day.

From being part of various masterminds and online challenges, I’ve realised that a simple shared Google Sheet is a great way of tracking daily progress for a group of 2 or more. Using a spreadsheet like this creates a healthy dose of competition, accountability and gamification.

To create a Google sheet like this, you simply list out the dates in the first column. I grey out the weekends, so the list is naturally divided into weeks. In the next columns you enter your daily goal. For me this goal currently is set to writing 500 words per day and publishing a new blog post and video every Tuesday.

This Google Sheet is a powerful one pager that lets me track my progress and keeps me accountable to hit my daily KPIs. Make sure to bookmark your Google Sheet for quick access.

The last step of my workflow is not directly linked to writing and is therefore optional. This step does however help me stay motivated and accountable.

5. WhatsApp for Messaging My Accountability Partner

Being part of a mastermind group or having an accountability partner is not essential, but it can be a great way of being supported and supporting others in an effort to develop a new habit or reach specific goals. 

I have an accountability partner from my mastermind group that I communicate with via WhatsApp. We don’t necessarily message each other daily, but we share wins and challenges if and when appropriate. It’s a great way of staying in touch and holding one another accountable, which is why I recommend this and have included it as part of this workflow.

In Conclusion

Like many other skills, writing is like a muscle … the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Creating a simple and repeatable workflow for writing has helped me strip away any complexities and excuses and has helped me write more in less time. 

If you’re just getting started, then start by writing just a few paragraphs every day. Make it so simple that it’s impossible to fail. Once you’re ready to level up, you can challenge yourself to writing 500 words per day and then eventually 1000 words per day.

By writing at least 500 words per day, I’ve managed to write a total of 16 516 words over the past 36 days. And I know for a fact that my simple workflow has made it fun and effective..

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment below. I'll do my best to get back to you.

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1Password – The Best Password Manager App

The Internet together with cloud based apps and online services has unlocked a world of opportunity. Be it email, social media, online publishing, project management, team collaboration, accounting, customer support, instant messaging or navigation – more and more applications and services are now housed in the cloud. And to access all of these services we constantly need to create new accounts and protect our accounts with strong passwords. But how do we remember and manage all these long complex passwords?

The answer is an app called 1Password by AgileBits.
Click the image below to watch a great video explaining how this app works.

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1Password is a premium app that we use on a daily bases and recommend to all our customers and friends. We strongly feel that this app is the best password manager out there. It let’s you store and manage all your private sensitive information in one secure app – think of it as your virtual online safe. This can include passwords, login credentials, credit card details, bank accounts, passport details, and secret notes. Take a look at the following screenshot of the backend of the app to see all the categories on the menu on the left.

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The app also integrates with useful browser extensions that make it super simple to login to the sites and create new strong passwords. I mostly use the Chrome extension, which I use daily and this functionality itself saves me hours each and every week.

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1Password is available for Mac OS, iOS, Windows and Android and syncs seamlessly across devices. It also creates backups to services like Dropbox, which let’s you access your sensitive information through your Dropbox account in case you loose all your devices.

There are many other great features that you will discover, like vault sharing, which let’s you share passwords with your team or family members. If you don’t have a simple and reliable password management system in place, then I highly recommend that you try 1Password. You can download a free trial from their website.

Do you have any questions about 1Password or how to improve your online security?
Email us at info@posmaymedia.com.

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